Do you love the X-Men? I mean, really love the X-Men? Would you be happy living in a world where approximately 40 percent of all films released in theaters was some sort of X-Men sequel/prequel/spinoff/reboot/remake/spinboot? Then, my friend, the future belongs to you. Lauren Shuler Donner, the producer of the X films, has an extended interview in the new issue of Empire magazine in which she teases a host of upcoming X projects. Of course, the X-Men comic books have been a spin-off factory for decades now — in the ’90s, essentially every X-Man had their own solo comic series, even X-Man, who wasn’t really named X-Man, but that’s another story I wouldn’t dream of boring you with. Given that the last couple of big-screen X projects have featured a veritable carousel of potentially spinnable characters (Hi, Gambit! Bye, Gambit!), it’s unsurprising to see that there are a few different projects currently in the planning stages.
First up: The long-rumored Ryan Reynolds Deadpool project, a non-spinoff spinoff to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The film is currently in a holding pattern due to Reynolds’ busy dance card. Donner offers a host of tidbits guaranteed to warm our collective geek heart. For one thing, the screenplay (by Zombieland‘s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) is currently a “an R script… really irreverent and violent,” which is in keeping with the beloved cult character’s general attitude. Donner notes that the film will be “a total reboot” which will largely ignore the weird faux-Deadpool who appeared in the Wolverine film. Says Donner: “We’re either going to pretend that didn’t happen, or mock it.” Hey, any film that mocks X-Men Origins: Wolverine is okay by us! (In regards to the Deadpool screenplay’s likely rating, a representative for 20th Century Fox told EW, “We have made no determinations on the Deadpool script.” Fingers crossed that R-rating stays, or we’ll just have to start counting the seconds until the unrated DVD.)
In regards to The Wolverine, the non-sequel sequel to X-MO:W, Donner confirmed that there is still no replacement for director Darren Aronofsky, who recently left the Japan-set film. (Star Hugh Jackman told EW earlier today that he’s still on board the project and is “not going to settle” in the search for a new director: “Everyone is still pushing forward to getting it done.”)
But Donner’s big news focuses on a pair of actual-sequel sequels. Although there have been rumors that the upcoming prequel X-Men: First Class may mark the beginning of a new trilogy — imagine, a prequel-threequel! — Donner indicates that there are currently plans in motion to continue the original X trilogy. Says Donner, “We took the treatment [for X4] to Fox and they love it…and X4 leads into X5.”
Fox tells EW that those future X-Men projects “are just discussions,” but given that the X franchise has so far grossed roughly $1.5 billion worldwide for the studio, it’s a fair bet that the mainline X series will continue at some point. Less clear is if X4 and X5 would feature original cast members like Halle Berry (who survived X3) or Famke Janssen and James Marsden (who didn’t, but this is X-Men, so resurrection springs eternal), to say nothing of spin-off overlord Hugh Jackman. The series could feasibly refocus on a group of younger mutants with
cheaper salaries exciting new interpersonal problems to explore. Or perhaps the bigscreen X series could leap into an dystopian alternate reality where America is ruled by a genocidal overlord and everyone has cool new costumes. That would be an alterna-sequel anti-remake pre-spin boot-off with absolute trilogy potential, so Yahtzee! (Hey, it happened in the comics in 1995, and it was awesome.)
That concludes this round-up of X-film related news, although be sure to check here constantly for the next twenty years for irregular updates. PopWatchers, excited about these upcoming X-Men projects? Hoping the Deadpool project can actually morph into an R-rated comedy? Anything you absolutely need to see in a theoretical X4 or X5 film? Think it’s time they just pull the trigger and do Days of Future Past?
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